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The 'hidden givers': a study of school governing bodies in England

Date: 01 July 2010

This project analysed the relationship between primary and secondary school governance, school performance, and the way this relationship is influenced by the school's socio-economic setting through a literature review, a national survey, and case studies.

The project undertook an extensive review of the relevant literature; extended the analysis of data from a national survey of school governors undertaken by Balarin et al. in 2008; and undertook 30 case studies of school governing in England in a range of settings.

The findings of the research confirmed that school governing is complicated, demanding, and goes on largely unnoticed. The commitment of many of those interviewed for the research was quite remarkable especially in terms of the time they gave to their governing responsibilities. Much of the work of lay governors is hidden from view and is all undertaken for no tangible reward. The 300,000 or so school governors in England make a significant contribution to their schools and to the education system as a whole.

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Anna Riggall

Research manager

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